Rep. Frank On What He Learned From Mayor White

BOSTON — One of Mayor Kevin White’s great legacies can be seen in the dozens of men and women he attracted into public life.

One of those public careers White launched is that of 16-term Rep. Barney Frank of Newton. Frank will be delivering one of the eulogies at the funeral Mass for White later on Wednesday. He joined Morning Edition Wednesday.

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  • AndyF

    During Kevin White’s stint as Mayor, I worked for a fine men’s clothing store in Boston on Devonshire Street.  Mr. White came in one day and ordered a few suits totalling about $3,000 in cost.  Mr. White asked that we bill his office, which we did.  Months went by and the bill never got paid.  Each time our company would get in touch with his office, they would ‘dodge’ payment of the bill until finally, our owner made polite call to his office informing them that they were leaving us no alternative but to place Mr. White’s account in collection.  Later we got a call back informing us that if we put the Mayor into collection, he would ensure our business would be ‘hurt’.  Even before we submitted his account to collection, Boston Public Works people showed up at our store and tore up the side walks from one end of our business to the other.  When we asked why this was being done, we were told the Mayor’s office asked that the pipes below the sidewalk “be checked”.  For about six months the sidewalks were unusable and we had to put boards out so that customers could walk over the dug up sidewalks.

    We never put Mr. White into collection, and he never paid his bill, walking away with $3,000 in merchandise essentially for free.  Our owner was warned by other Boston vendors that you dont charge the Mayor – and that was our mistake.  Oh, so the mayor rides for free???  Apparently yes.

    I was very young back then, but have always recalled this incident especially when I consider today’s politicians – always behaving like some sort of royalty.  I was young and still lived under the illusion that politicians were good, decent people.  Kevin White was my first in life experience that such an assumption is a total illusion.

    I am sure White did many good things for the people of Boston – but I am also equally and directly aware that Kevin White was my first of many experiences learning that politicians are essentially liars, cheats and freeloaders.

    For all the good things Mr. White may have done, one thing he did do that was not so good was to teach a young man that power corrupts – a sad lesson to learn then, and so well learned in the many years that have followed.

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